Gina never was a night owl like me. I'd take her home early from our dates and she'd go to bed around 9 or 9:30. Gina's mom was a night owl like me. We got along just fine. Gina would yawn and go to bed and Mrs. Hale and I would hang out and talk on into the night.
I think it was good therapy for Betty because she'd talk a lot about her divorce from Walter. There was still a great deal of hurt there. She still loved Walter and had forgiven him a long time ago. She could've become a broken and bitter woman, but she was a better person than that. She was an amazing woman.
In spite of the pain and setbacks in life, Mrs. Hale was one of the most joyful and upbeat women I've ever known. Gina has that trait of her mother's and that's one of the reasons that attracted me to her.
They say if you want to know what a girl is going to be like in twenty years, look at her mother. I liked Mrs. Hale from the start. If Gina was going to be anything like her mom, that girl was for me. It proved true for me. Gina is the joyful optimist like her mom. Like her mom, she's beautiful inside and out.
Mrs. Hale was a giving soul who gave to a fault. I felt kind of protective of her because I'd see people take advantage of her generosity. She never had much, but was always willing to share from a bountiful heart. She always expected the best of people. She was often disappointed by people, but always hopeful that they would eventually see the error of their ways and change for the better.
The greatest gift Betty ever gave me was her love. I was never-NEVER treated as a son in-law. Mrs Hale immediately embraced me as her son. As I type this, I wipe tears from my eyes. She loved me as her son. When her oldest son died of cancer a decade ago - she said she looked to me and relied on me, my help, my council as she had her beloved Terry. I am honored to have been accepted and loved like that. I will always be grateful for her love.
While she lay dying, most of her words were difficult to make out through the oxygen mask that had been strapped over her head. Her body had been beaten down by illness, no more resistance, she had become so very weak and frail.
I sat by her bed ~ held her hand into the night. She couldn't say much, but her eyes always said what was on her heart. Her eyes glistened with love. "I love you too Betty." One of the last things she said to me Thursday night was that she wanted to die. She was so miserable, experiencing so much discomfort and pain. I sat there in the dark hospital room and gently responded by telling her that there was nothing else the doctors could do ~ that she was already in her dying stages. She didn't respond, her eyes made direct contact as I told her. She understood.
She had fought a good fight, ran a good race and was ready to go home. We love you Betty. We will never be able to out give the love you gave to each of us. We are better people for having experienced your love. Thank you!